New Safety Pass tool to give Fanshawe's building technology students industry-standard protection

Header image for Interrobang article CREDIT: SNEKSY
The Ontario General Contractors Association's (OGCA) Safety Pass tool is now a part of Building Technology students' occupational health and safety course.

Fanshawe’s building technology program is now including the Ontario General Contractors Association’s (OGCA) Safety Pass tool in its occupational health and safety course this fall.

The Safety Pass tool is an online training program for workers in building technology trades such as construction, carpentry, civil engineering, plumbing and stone masonry. The OGCA and other sub-trades aim to require certification from the program before these workers step foot onto any job site across the province.

Health and Safety Technician and course instructor Leslie Selinger said she hopes making the tool a mandatory assignment will give students an advantage as they begin their careers.

“If we can get our students to complete it, how much easier will it be because they will already have it,” Selinger said. “We’re always looking for opportunities to get our students a leg up in the industry.”

Selinger first encountered a hyperlink to information on the Safety Pass tool while poring over an e-newsletter from the London District Construction Association.

She said she was most impressed that the certification will last three years and is accepted across the industry. Records of a worker’s certification will be kept on a database, eliminating the need to repeat the training for every new job they take.

She said that the Building Technology Program’s dean and chair were both quick to approve her proposal for the Safety Pass tool’s integration into the course curriculum.

According to its website, the Safety Pass tool provides an online orientation of the 13 most common hazards on a construction site. It explores how to deal with the hazards in 13 interactive modules and accompanying videos. Each module is followed by a quiz to ensure students have properly absorbed the information.

Selinger said she personally went through the quizzes so she could offer her students the strongest guidance she can.

“I made all the possible mistakes that could possibly occur, and they had everything covered,” she said, adding that the program can monitor if the student has opened an additional browser window to cheat by Googling an answer.

“It ensures that you are actually in-taking the information and not just zoning out,” Selinger said.

A 100 per cent grade is mandatory for the Safety Pass tool certification. If students fail at first, they are able to review their answers to see where they went wrong.

Even though safety training may not seem like the most exciting topic, Selinger pointed out that the information can be a matter of life and death, especially when it comes to preparing to enter the workplace.

“Numbers are still up, unfortunately, for fatalities. The only way we’re going to get those numbers down is by getting the information out,” Selinger said.

She said she always begins her first classes by telling students one in three workers between the ages of 17 to 25 will be either injured or killed on a work site.

“Information is never a bad thing, not when you’re considering that people are dying from falls all the time in construction. This has got to stop, and the only way we can make it stop is to get information out there,” Selinger said.